Does the full moon affect childbirth?

This January 7, 2023 is the first full moon of the year. But is there really a link between full moon evenings and the number of births? We disentangle the true from the false with Dr. Thierry Harvey, gynecologist-obstetrician.

Do people give birth more often on a late evening? full moon ? Is there really a influence on the number of births on full moon evenings ? If this phenomenon tends to play on our emotions, and on our sleep, what about the arrival of a baby? For Dr. Thierry Harvey, gynecologist-obstetrician, This is not the case. The specialist explains to us where this belief comes from, and why many continue to believe in it, while numerous scientific studies have denied this theory. We take stock on the occasion of the first full moon of the year 2023 which takes place on January 7.

Can the full moon affect childbirth?

The received idea that the full moon would influence childbirth is very common, and there are even some health professionals who believe in it. It must be said that this belief is very old, and therefore well anchored in mentalities. But where does it come from? In many cultures and even in mythology, the moon is associated with fertility and female cycles. “Women have a 28-day menstrual cycle, and lunar cycles are 29 days. So some saw a connection there”, explains Dr. Harvey. In addition, a pregnancy carried to term lasts 280 days, i.e. 10 moons. For some, this could not be a coincidence. “Humans said to themselves at one time that there must be a link between the lunar phases and the deliveries, or with the rules. Except that nothing has ever been proven”underlines the gynecologist-obstetrician.

No, the full moon has no influence on childbirth!

The rumor that the full moon would increase the number of deliveries is so widespread that researchers have repeatedly tried to determine if it really is. Several dozen studies have been carried out on the subject and, each time, the answer is the same: there are no more births on full moon nights than on other days. And if there aren’t more, then that belief is wrong.

Among the many studies on the question, we can cite one, published in May 2005 in theAmerican Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Researchers at the Mountain Area Health Education Center in North Carolina, USA, studied 564,039 uninitiated births over five years, or sixty-two lunar cycles. Enough to have a lot of data and to be able to draw serious statistics from it. They were able to observe that there were no more deliveries or pregnancy complications, such as miscarriage or pre-eclampsia, at the time of the full moon. Their conclusion is therefore as follows: “Analysis of five years of data has shown no no foreseeable influence of the lunar cycle on deliveries or complications. As expected, this pervasive myth is not based on evidence.”

To those who are still not convinced, we can answer that if the link between the full moon and childbirth were proven, the organization of childcare services in maternity wards would be done differently. “If that were really the case, it would be too easy! We would double the duty teams in hospitals on full moon days and, conversely, if there were moon phases during which there were less of births, we would reduce the teams at that time”, indicates the head of the maternity department of the Deaconesses, in Paris.

The exact date of term of pregnancy is defined during the dating ultrasound, with the gynecologist.

Full moon and childbirth: why do we continue to believe in it?

Studies on the full moon and childbirth are numerous, and some are relatively old. If all are categorical on the absence of a link, it is clear that many people continue to think that there is a relationship. “It’s because humans need to find answers to things they don’t understand. That’s why the irrational exists”, believes Dr. Thierry Harvey. Our specialist draws up a non-exhaustive list: “When a pregnant woman raises her arms, she is told that this will bring the baby down. Expectant mothers are told not to cross their legs, otherwise the umbilical cord will wrap around the baby’s neck. It is said that heartburn is linked to baby’s hair… However, research and medical knowledge have shown that these beliefs were false!

In the case of issuance, “We don’t know how labor is triggered. We know that, at some point, the baby will send a signal, but we don’t know exactly what, how, why… In the same way that we don’t know how to explain why some births do not start naturally, and others prematurely. Ignoring certain things does not mean that we will never know the answer. On the contrary, it allows medical research to continue”, explains the gynecologist-obstetrician. If we continue to believe that the moon has an influence on childbirth, it is therefore to keep a part of the marvelous and the supernatural, but also, quite simply, to try to find a reason for something that we do not understand. not.

Does the full moon affect childbirth?